Friday roundup – November 30 through December 4, 2015

We are sad to learn of the passing of Catherine Seiferth England, president of the Lois and Richard England Family Foundation in Washington, D.C. In addition to her passion for the arts, she also spent much of her career helping to meet the needs of underserved youth and Jewish residents in the District. Read more about her life here.

– The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History announced a long-term Philanthropy Initiative and display titled “Giving In America,” providing a look at how philanthropy has shaped American culture. (PR Newswire, 12/1)

– A new study examined the relationship between the generosity of wealthy people and  the level of inequality in their state. Wealthy people in states where incomes are more evenly distributed are more likely to be generous, according to the study. (Bloomberg, 11/23)

– More and more developers are rolling out plans to transform Anacostia. Many residents are bracing themselves for what may come. (WaPo, 11/26)

– The Campaign for Black Male Achievement released a new report that ranks 50 U.S. cities on their efforts to “advance racial progress and black needs.”  D.C. is one of the top three cities with a 97 out of 100 possible points. (WCP, 12/3)

– For the first time in decades, new diabetes cases are declining in the U.S.  (NYT, 12/1)

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Want to win friends and influence people? Talk faster!

– Ciara 

D.C. ranks No. 1 on list for working women

WORKFORCE │ Another report has been released on the best areas in the country for working women. The District tops the list at No. 1, with Maryland at No. 5, and Virginia at No. 11, according to the report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Though encouraging, women in D.C. still make less than their male counterparts. (WBJ, 9/3)

The annual report says the median annual full-time pay for women in the District is $60,000, 92.3 percent of the median pay for men. D.C. also ranks No. 1 for the percent of women in the labor force, at 66.9 percent, and No. 1 for the number of women in management.

– The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has updates on the D.C. Promise Neighborhood Initiative in the Kenilworth-Parkside community, and what is up next for the program with support from funders like the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, the Consumer Health Foundation, the Lois and Richard England Family Foundation, the Washington Area Women’s Foundation,  and more. (DCFPI, 9/4)

– In the District during the 2011-12 school year, an alarming number of gunfire incidents occurred in close proximity to schools. During this time, of the 175 traditional public and public charter schools in D.C., 116 of them were close enough for gunfire to be heard inside during school hours. (WCP, 9/3)

– Five lessons one woman’s story teaches us about poverty and education in D.C. (GGW, 9/3)

HOMELESSNESSHuman Services Chief: City Can Avoid Homelessness, But Only With Persistent Effort (WCP, 9/3)

POVERTY │ Opinion: Efforts to combat poverty are often roadblocked by competing views on what the root causes of poverty are. An author shares his views on how a “rough ideological consensus” regarding the causes of poverty and inequality from policy makers and the like, is a crucial first step in moving forward with initiatives that could make a big difference. (NYT, 9/2)

PHILANTHROPY │ A new online tool that measures the value of social projects is now available. The Social Impact Calculator, made possible by the Low Impact Investment Fund, estimates the monetary value of projects based on recent social science research. (Chronicle, 9/4)

COMMUNITY │ The Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs is seeking volunteers to review new funding proposals for The FY’15 Latino Community Development Grant and Latino Community Health Grant Competition. Reviewers must commit to one reviewer training session and evaluate three to five proposals. Trainings are conducted online via webinars. Grant reviews are also conducted online via their grants management system. To become a grant reviewer, please submit your resume to by Monday, September 8, 2014. OLA will contact qualified applicants within five days of submission.

Perhaps you can buy happiness, after all!

– Ciara

Low-income residents in D.C. are being shown the door

A number of low-income residents at a Northwest D.C. housing complex were recently handed notices that their Section 8 vouchers would not be renewed once the contract with their leasing company expires.  Despite having lived in the building for decades, many will soon be forced out of one of D.C.’s prime neighborhoods. (WJLA, 5/19)

The residents are living in the middle of one of D.C.’s hottest new real estate sectors, and new buildings have sprung up on three sides. In this one, the cheapest one-bedroom apartment is $2,227 a month.

But many of those who are living at 401 K Street have incomes of less than $10,000 a year.

A recent report released by the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable reveals the quality of life in the county has vastly improved in a number of areas over the last four years.  The organization developed the report to debunk misleading stereotypes about the county and its progress. (WaPo, 5/20)

According to the report, which measures indicators in areas including  the county’s economy, education, public safety, health, transportation and parks and recreation, the county has made significant strides. The report, which relies largely on government sources and data, compares indicators in Prince George’s with other counties in the Washington region.

Related: Last year, funders, nonprofits, and businesses gathered for a special summit on Prince George’s County to learn about the positive changes underway in the county, particularly as a result of the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative and the Partnership for Prince George’s County, and to identify ways that leaders from across sectors can work together to continue to improve the county. (Daily, Sept. 2013)

– The Hill-Snowdon Foundation is the recipient of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy‘s 2014 Impact Award for Small or Mid-Sized Private Grantmakers. Winners are nominated and were chosen based on their commitment to effective philanthropy and the results they and their grantees achieved.

The Future Fund, a giving circle for young professionals at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, raised $52,000  at its annual Awards Gala, and has raised over $200,000 since its inception in 2011, to support the critical needs in Northern Virginia. (CFNova, 5/19)

– Event: Attend a free red-carpet screening of the award-winning documentary First Generation this evening at Landmark’s E Street Cinema at 6:30 PM.  There will be opening remarks from a number of guests, including D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Herb Tillery, Executive Director at D.C. College Success Foundation – a nonprofit partner of The Lois and Richard England Family Foundation.

AGING │The Home First program, run by D.C. nonprofit Seabury Resources for Aging, faces an uncertain future as it may not have enough funding to continue its 20-year-old history of offering regular home help to around 300 older adults in wards 4 and 5. (WaPo, 5/20)

YOUTH Advocates Want D.C. to End Pretrial Holding of Minors in Adult Jails (DCist, 5/20)

Not at all surprising, but informative nonetheless!



Remembering Mr. Richard England

We’re truly sad to report that Mr. Richard England passed away yesterday at the age of 93. Mr. England was one of our region’s philanthropic cornerstones. He and his wife of 67 years, Lois, began their philanthropic work in 1948 and founded the Lois and Richard England Foundation in 1990. Mr. England served on the board of more than 30 nonprofits.

What made him especially noteworthy in our community was his hands-on approach. For Veteran’s Day 2011, we interviewed him about both his service in World War II and his philanthropic philosophy. Of the latter, he said:

I am Jewish. The part of the religion which excites me is Tikkun Olam – the Hebrew phrase which means ‘fixing the world.’ I really enjoy helping people who are less fortunate.

He went on to describe how he determined what parts of our local world needed the most fixing:

Read the Washington Post to learn where the problems are. Drive around the city to get acquainted.

Mr. England also had a profound effect on the people around him. These are a few reflections from members of the WRAG community:

Tamara Copeland, President of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers:

I always admired Mr. England, not just as a well-respected community leader and philanthropist, but also as a model for aging. In his 90s, Mr. England was always an expected attendee at WRAG events – a lifetime learner, not only listening in the audience, but a participant asking probing questions to further his knowledge and that of his colleagues. He was always clear about his needs – urging a presenter to speak up or coming to the podium to adjust his microphone so he could better hear the remarks.

Mr. England stood tall, not just because of his military experience in World War II. He stood tall because he knew the needs of this community, knew that he had the capacity to address some of those needs and rose up elegantly, purposefully, albeit quietly, to respond to those needs. He was a leader. I will miss him, but I am so glad that I had the opportunity to know him. He will always be a beacon guiding the work of those whose lives he touched. A life well lived.

Terri Freeman, WRAG Board Chair, President of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region:

[Mr. England] was extremely committed to this community and his support of the sector was unwavering. He was a life-long learner as demonstrated by his participation in so many meetings and forums. We can only hope that younger generations of corporate leaders will be as committed as Mr. England.

Julie Rogers, former WRAG Board Chair, President of The Meyer Foundation:

Dick England was an activist philanthropist. His passion for our city’s young people and his matchless fundraising style created opportunities for so many – through chess, the wonderful campus for Bell MultiCultural and so much more. Dick set an example for us all by his integrity, inquiry and generosity, and I was honored to know him.

George Vradenburg, former WRAG Board member, President of The Vradenburg Foundation

I loved the birthday party for him AND Lois for their joint (like) 180th birthday. Richard told this hilarious story of his going upstairs in his house, getting to the top of the stairs and forgetting why he was going upstairs, turning around and starting downstairs and halfway down forgetting why he was going downstairs, so he ended up sitting on the landing on the steps between upstairs and downstairs until he could figure out where he should go. He told it with such genuineness and honesty that the entire audience was in stitches – obviously recognizing something very human and very shared.

He called me several times a year – for the Federation, for chess, for schools – always a good cause. I always, always returned his calls even when I knew I had to say ‘no’, because he was so committed to our kids, our community, our city. He was a good one, one of the best.

This is a sad day – even though he lived a long and fruitful life – sad nonetheless. I will miss him.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Mrs. England and the entire England family. A memorial service will be held this Thursday, April 4th, at 11 am, at Washington Hebrew Congregation – 3935 Macomb St., NW, Washington, DC. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name to Chess Challenge in DC, MCIP (Bell High School in DC), or Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

WWII veteran Mr. Richard England talks about “fixing the world”

Mr. England during WWII

We often see Mr. Richard England adjusting the microphones so that he can hear at WRAG events. Few in the philanthropic community may know that Mr. England lost his hearing when he was a sailor landing on Guadalcanal in 1943 during World War II. As we prepare to celebrate Veteran’s Day, we asked Mr. England to reflect on philanthropy – what it means to him, what advice he has for young philanthropists, and how funders can support our nation’s veterans.

Mr. England and his wife, Lois, started their charitable giving in 1948. In 1990, they formally established the Lois and Richard England Family Foundation with their children. Mr. England, who has served on the boards of more than 30 nonprofits, finds philanthropic inspiration in his faith. “I am Jewish,” he says. “The part of the religion which excites me is Tikkun Olam – the Hebrew phrase which means ‘fixing the world.’”

Mr. and Mrs. England

While Tikkun Olam derives specifically from religion, Mr. England believes the universality of the concept can help inspire and frame the work of new philanthropists. For funders just beginning their work in the Greater Washington region, he also has this straightforward advice: know your surroundings. “Read the Washington Post to learn where the problems are,” he implores, “Drive around the city to get acquainted.”

For veterans of the United States military – a population that faces disproportionately high rates of unemployment and homelessness in our region – his hope for philanthropy is equally direct. He says that funders need to look at ways of better supporting veteran education and affordable housing, both of which are essential to tackling the high unemployment rate of our former service members.

With more than six decades of experience in philanthropy, Mr. England says that his approach to giving hasn’t changed over time. Perhaps that is because a continuous focus on the goal of fixing the world – whether in service of his country or by giving back to the community – remains personal.

“I really enjoy helping people who are less fortunate,” he says.